The New Times (Kigali)

Rwanda: There Is No Room for Sports Hooliganism in Today's Society

editorial

THE SOCIAL and cultural fabric of our society was yesterday dragged two decades backwards through the mire and behaviour too impudent to describe in words. What happened as soccer fans, particularly of Rayon Sports, descended on Amahoro Stadium with stones and other 'weapons', must be condemned in the strongest terms.

And that includes our stand.

Football, and sports in general, is a beautiful game that represents some of the ideals we stand for. Peace-loving people like Rwandans cannot be seen to throw stones and vandalise property as was the case yesterday, in the name of protesting a result that did not go their way.

If every set of fans had to protest, what then would be the essence of sporting activities? Where would Rayon Sports be if all the teams they beat en route to their current position on the league log had behaved in similar manner as was yesterday?

Even if it was the most blatant of mistakes on the part of the officials, there is no way the accused fans can justify vandalising offices around Amahoro Stadium. There is always a better way to settle disputes in all spheres of life and that includes sports.

Sports should be a unifying factor, the magical healing activity that we can all look up to. But if fans begin to turn chaotic, then the pride of the nation we have painstakingly rebuilt as peace-loving people will be at stake.

Yesterday's incident has already sullied this pride. Worse still, it comes at a moment we are mourning. This is barbarism we must all reject as Rwandans. Responsible authorities must ensure this does not happen again.

Police have warned sports fans against unruly behaviour after arresting 12 following hour-long run-ins to contain the situation. But let's ensure we never involve Police in containing chaotic situations in our stadiums again.

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